tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN June 19, 2015 7:00pm-9:01pm EDT
thank you. >> thank you, dr. minor. would you like to open the questioning, commissioner? >> thank you, mr. chairman. this is for professor flores and dr. minor. professor flores, you said that precollege characteristics, levels of poverty, segregation, course selection, cost of education, location, of the college campus, all of these factors weigh extremely heavily on whether we can predict access, success and completion. did i understand that? is that a fair --
>> yes. >> and yet we also see large -- we also see success happening through campus based programs and as a result of federal investment in such programs as delineated by dr. minor, namely trio and gear up, just to name two. i mean, there are many others. how do you explain those two variables? >> yes, that's a very good question. i'm glad you asked that. it basically depends on where you start measuring. and so the work in terms of where we begin our analyses is in high school.
and so when we talk about campus based programs, we're talking about already students enrolled in college. the students that made it that already show some form of success and so we track the students back to high school and early as possible. that's where you see the disconnects in the findings. it's not to say that campus based programs can't be successful. but we're talking about students who have successfully enrolled in college and my research covers the students that don't make it. >> i see. that's an important clarification. >> yes, it is. >> has enhanced my understanding of what the statistics tell us. you mentioned the critical nature of these programs that your office administers. could you talk a little bit about the measurement that suggests to you these programs
are operating as intended, and you also mentioned that they were underfunded. what does that mean? >> well, as the office that administers the majority of grant programs provided to higher education institutions. i have not met a constituent yet who -- >> doesn't believe it. >> right. right. but we know some of that is measured against need. what program directors and institutional leaders often report to us are not only the numbers of students that they're serving but the number that they're not able to serve because of resources. and given the size and scope of the investment that the department is making, there are hundreds and thousands of students not being served due to shortage of resources.
>> you mentioned $302 million for gear up. that's an awfully modest amount, one would think, as compared to the numbers of students who might benefit from such a program. is that your testimony? >> yeah, i think that's an argument that could be made. between trio and gear-up alone, we're serving approximately 1.3 million students across the country. and again if you balance that against the number of students who need to be served, certainly an argument can be made in those programs. >> and these are students who are already, in the case of the trio programs, already admitted to universities. is that correct? >> some of them. the range of programs start to serve students as early as middle school, and they serve students through their time at colleges and universities, and
even in graduate and post baccalaureate programs. >> but these are students who have indicated through performance that they have some academic merit that they're at least college material no? >> well, the requirement is not based on academic merit. it's based on household income primarily. and so it is not true. what the programs are intended to do is to increase the number of low income students, students who would be the first in their family to attend college. to actually encourage them and to provide resources to them that they would transition from k-12 to post secondary
institutions. >> could i ask one more question, mr. chairman? >> sure. >> does your office also administer or have information regarding scog? >> yes. yes. we do. but i will be careful to tie that program to the performance of the ones that we discussed here this morning. >> why? >> why is that? >> because it's a congressionally mandated formula? or some kind of formula? >> in part. but the performance of the programs are primarily determined by annual reports that are submitted by the program directors. and so it is true, but they are distinct funds and they are distinct programs. >> understood. but we heard testimony yesterday from a number of experts that the -- and we'll hear today
later, a kind of comparison, and i'm wondering what you think about this. it was stated that this grant is designed to address the low-income populations in the colleges and the universities, right? i mean, that's what it's -- that's what it's appropriated for, is that correct? >> that's correct. >> and we heard a statistic yesterday that $10 million of the grants are appropriated to all of the ivy league universities collectively, and that collectively those universities enroll 60,000 students, and i'm not clear the the number of pell eligible students within that, but 60,000 students. i was told as well, however, that the california state
university system, which enrolls 400,000 students receives $11 million, as compared to $10 million for 60,000. $11 million for 400,000. and the situation where almost half of those 400,000 students are peleligible, meaning that they're some level of low income student, and i'míorv/ñ wondering how that could be? >> let me just make one distinction that will be helpful. there are two primary v. domains of grants that the department makes. one is a formula based grant. which means they're eligible to receive that grant or award. the other category is discretionary or competitive. >> sure.
>> meaning that applicants submit a proposal that is scored primarily by peer reviewers. so the department doesn't decide who the winner or loser in those competitions are. so we have a review process that scores and rates the applications. and there's no way for the department to dictate what the the composition of award winners will be for those competitions. >> so they are -- >> both are competitive. >> right, and this is pursuant to formula. and who sets the formula? >> well the formula is established in statute and regulation. neither is something that the department gets to arbitrarily change or an act of congress that changes a statute >> so the rule making is done pursuant to a regulatory regime adopted by the congress, is that
correct? >> that's correct. >> thanks very much. >> >> mr. flores, you mentioned the number of latino students in your college is going up. that's due primarily to demographics, that our population is growing so fast and quickly that by the very nature you'll see more latinos in the pipeline, but it's not attributable to any programs getting them in the pipeline. it's just the population is bubbling up, so it's going to reflect this those statistics. is that right? >> yes, and so my main point is not to reach toward the conclusion of success without understanding that it may just be demography and not successful programming and policies. and while those statistics are very important, because demography is very important,
it's also pup lick policy 101. don't make conclusions based on demography. >> one of our speakers was making the point that more hispanics are going to college now than whites. >> it's a common misconception. >> he did say he was not an official demographer. >> is he a doctor? >> i don't remember. i don't think so. dr. carr. in your statistics, you show among the various minority groups the asian population continues to do better in most of those, if not all of those areas of measurement. commissioner narasaki yesterday very eloquently distinguished between various subgroups of asians, and we had testimony as well from the south asian community, which is substantially underserved and underrepresented. but as commissioner narasaki said yesterday there are other communities such as the indian community and chinese community who have come here with higher
educational credentials, and so their children have been able to proceed in a more successful route for the most part. does your data take account of the subgroups of asian americans or latinos, for that matter? >> well, the data i presented today does not differentiate between asians, the traditional reference to chinese, japanese, versus pacific islanders. but in recent years, we have started to bifurcate the data that way. and i should say that the gaps between those groups is just as wide as the gaps between whites and black students or whites and asian -- between whites and native americans. excuse me. so we have only just begun to differentiate the types of origins of the asian-americans. but it is important and the
department has been put on notice that this is something that the community wants to see. and as we begin to release data in years to come. we do not have data as differentiated for hispanic-americans, however, it is more difficult to assess that data. many of the data we're getting from schools and school districts. they don't all collect the same way. certainly this is one that working very hard to have data in the future to differentiate their results. >> so the school districts are differentiating between and among asian subgroups but not hispanic? >> yeah. >> why is that? >> they do. but they don't all report to us that way. they don't all report the origin, and we don't collect the data in such a refined way. >> but now you're planning to
begin to collect the data. >> yes. >> is there some way that -- you know, yesterday we were talking about leveraging federal dollars for state investment in education. since i'm sure the school districts are receiving some form of federal aid, that you can request if not mandate that they provide you with that data, broken down by subgroup? >> well, i don't want to say they're refusing to give it to us. it's a manner of putting the procedures for data collection in place such that when one state gives us an indication andx5l9ku a definition for origin of a student, it is the same as another state. so i think it's a matter of getting our definitions and procedures in place. i don't think it's a funding issue. >> and whose responsibility is that? >> it's a collective responsibility. of working partnerships with the states, and with the surveys and mandated surveys in addition to
the ones that are not mandated. at the u.s. department of education. >> is there a plan to do that or is it just it would sort of be nice to do that? >> no, we are cognizant of the these to differentiate amongst the origins of the students. >> and we have started, as i indicated, most notably with asian-americans. so we're on the pathway, yes. >> okay thank you. commissioner? >> thank you. we've been talking about an achievement gap, there's a financial gap that impedes that as well. there's the completion gap in terms of being, once you're able to finish it and how all of that goes towards debt burden, income earning, and in the cases of some, you have the ability to escape a life of the low sec
factors, what have you. one of the questions i want to ask for all of you, if you have it, is it appears to me that in in looking at the issues of access to begin with. that community colleges play a very important role in providing a couple of things. one, if we can achieve, as some states are doing, and as president obama has wanted, to have free community college, we're closing the financial access gap there. but secondly, you can provide the kinds of instruction that can get someone up to the speed where they can then transfer to if four-year institution for completion. do we have any data on community colleges and their role, and their success rate in terms of minority students, getting them
in, and being able to matriculate them into a four-year institution, and whether or not that has an impact on their ability to complete the baccalaureate degree. do we have data on that? >> there is data both at the national and state level. i would argue that some of them have the best data to really track the pathway in clear detail. a number of studies across different states, ohio, texas, and a few others actually found that starting at a community college reduces your rate of ba completion. so knowing that, then how do we work around it or with it? there has been an explosion of research on community colleges. teacher's college out of columbia has done a great deal of work as well. in terms of minorities, because of low-income students, that is the first place of entry, regardless of academic preparation, so it's an opportunity and also a
challenge, if the institution is not operating or performing as it should, it has -- it could have the the effect of basically working against the preparation that students come with. at the same time, student who is are very -- who don't have proper preparation, this is a good place to begin to at least earn some form of credential. but there is a lot of work out there. i would say the state data bases have that level of detail, and also, you can get more information on the partnerships because articulation agreements. florida has great articulation agreements. other states are working toward that. one of the trends we're seeing in texas is students can graduate with an associate's degree in high school. that's been an interesting development in how we think about post secondary education. you don't have to finish high school before you begin. that's another area where some
states have better data than others to really look at the community college as the boundaries are now blended between high schools and colleges. >> dr. minor? >> thank you. i do think we have very good data. i just think we're not very enthusiastic about what it tells us about how first generation low-income students are performing in community colleges. although they are very accessible to students and relatively affordable, if not free in some states, or virtually free, we still have very serious challenges getting those students to complete either the associate's degree or to earn enough credits to transfer into a four-year college and university, 25 years ago, maybe, community colleges were talked about as having a cooling out function. and i do think we have enough day to suggest in some cases it does lower the likelihood that students earn the bachelor's degree. but there are two things, or a few factors that i think play
into why we are experiencing these kinds of outcomes for students. in any state system, community colleges tend to be underresourced institutions. the majority of the faculty tend to be contract faculty. and there's not a residential component, which means students pursuing the associates or taking classes at community college are also living their life. unlike students who attend four-year colleges. which in some cases impedes their ability to persist. and then i do think in some states that have good articulation agreements, we still have the issue of students accumulating enough credits over a period of one or six or eight semesters, that would allow them to transfer. so california is a good example. it's also a challenging example. that for a long time had the most universal access. the strongest articulation agreements.
75% of latino students and 75% of african-american students who begin don't transfer or don't earn the associate's degree after six years. and that's very problematic. >> what's interesting to me, because the search for these kinds of answers, i think that commissioner was sort of talking about the fact that you have all these different things in play. i mean, education is a holistic endeavor. starting from, you know, you're trying to make up for deficiencies that may have happened in k through 12. do you do it at a community college level? do you do it through supplemental services at the college level? part of what you're telling me is maybe community colleges aren't the secondary lifeboat that they could be or should be.
or maybe they should be or they're not resourced correctly and they're not staffed correctly. they're not programmed in the right way. they become this generic catch-all for a lot of different things that may or may not really lead to that degree. so i wish that -- part of me wishes we had a second day to get community college folks in here to talk about this. that seems to be a lot of us throwing that out there. if they can't get into cal, if they can't get into michigan state or wherever, they go to community college. if the reality isn't really there, we need to know about that. there's one thing i want to pursue that commissioner was trying to nudge you on, and i appreciate that you may not be able to talk about it. when you look at programs like trio or creatures of congressional creation, our job
here is to be the watchdog. our job is to bark as loudly as we can an on issue where we think that maybe something needs to be changed. when you look at completion rates within colleges and across the board. does it say to any of you that maybe trio or student services, shouldn't be a grant, but should be a formula based on how many low-income minority students you have in your institution? that it shouldn't be a question s of whether or not you have a good grant writer and someone has the time to do that but simply decided when the cal state system has so many -- so many latinos in their system, or african-americans or whatever,
that we need the ability to say this should not be a discretionary program. this should be a mandatory program because we have a national challenge, we have a national goal to ensure that once you're there you make it out. we heard testimony yesterday. what happens about people that don't make it out, the debt burdens it caused them. how it creates a legacy of debt for the next generation so that it impedes their ability to move on. there are things we can do. are these things where we should be rethinking the issue of grant and thinking more along the lines of pell or something, as an entitlement to institutions almost -- it's almost a reward for their ability to enroll minority and disadvantaged students, but it's also just a reality that we're going to help make more productive people if we give them their resources to stay and succeed. >> yeah, let me just answer
quickly, and carefully. if i may. >> i understand. >> it's an interesting question, but i think we have to consider it carefully. there are provisions in the regulations that spell out who should be served by many of these programs. and i'm very clear about the regulations, and they're designed to serve first generation and low-income students. there's no doubt about that. the question you're pursuing is where the grants ought to live and what kinds of institutions. >> not even that. part of what i was looking at yesterday i asked this as well. do we need -- i mean, it's great, and it's certainly -- it's creation that we understood that first generation individuals are people who deserve extra attention. the fact of the matter is, is
over the past 25, 30, 40 years things have changed. we created a legacy of -- we created a legacy of poverty and injustice of certain communities in this country where essentially for all testing purposes, they are first generation. their generation never got the chance to get the promised that government and others made on the war and poverty squeothers. do we need to change that and say trio should not be just -- should not be a grant award restrict to this category, but we should look at disadvantaged students generally in a trio type program for all those students. >> yeah, again, i think it's theoretical question. it's a philosophical question. i think in the actual -- >> it's a legislative and fiscal
question. >> that all of those things combined, and i think one of the opportunities will -- congress will take out the reauthorization of the higher education act. and it is one of the questions that i think is worth pursuing, and i think what's baked in or the bigger question there is how effective are the programs that we're currently invested? could we leverage the funds differently or focus them differently in a way that would be more effective and ultimately sort of improve in the social mobility of the students that we think the programs were intended to help? i think that's one of several questions we should take up. but we should do it carefully because there are no clear answers. the final thing i would say about that is the provisions that spell out how federal grant awards would be made has to be careful not to oft the
constitution and applicable law which will make it very difficult in some cases to focus on specific populations as recipients of federal funds. >> sure. >> thank you, commissioner, i'm sorry vice chair. you're next followed by commissioner -- >> i'm sorry. i thought -- >> oh, i'm sorry. >> okay. go ahead. >> well, i'm not necessarily going to tell the federal government where they should redistribute their money, but i will say you brought up the point of successful grant writers. i think we have a problem of capacity at some institutions and social capital in terms of being able to leverage the best grants, the best designs and so forth, and so i think maybe investing in institutional capacity to have stronger grant opportunities and more successful grant opportunities would be one way to think about where to spend additional funds, and i think even if we were going to redistribute or between programming, we still need form
of accountability if the money is being spent right. and i think to dr. minor's point, about not offending the constitution, there is a way, i think, to be able to increase capacity of institutions with the lowest income students. and still call for accountability. >> thank you. madame vice chair, you'll be followed by commissioners narasaki and harriet. >> thank you very much, mr. chair. this question would be to all of our panelists. as educators and others have looked out and reviewed pathways to higher education for poor, our first generation college and under represented minority students, one of the fairly novel concepts that has been developed is that of the early college. and as i understand that program, it combines high school and college that by the time a
student completes their high school requirements, they have also completed two years of college. i was wondering if there's any data out there and whether this is a trend you see merit in or what do our statistics and information tell us? >> well, what i would say is that these are fairly new programs, not in all cases but we hadn't seen them as systemic programs. one of the challenges is that public education in our country belongs to the states. a few places that outlive or had the pleasure of learning there were more school districts than counties, which all had different calendars and graduation requirements and rules and regulations about how
to account for courses. it's challenging. theoretically and conceptionally, it's a wonderful idea. in two ways. one is that students actually accumulate college credits which makes college more affordable. with but what's more important is that they understand themselves as clearly transitioning from high school to some post secondary institution. it's a way maybe not normally but culturally and socially to get students in the mindset of they are expected to transition from high school to some post secondary institution. i think it's early -- it's interesting, i was in the state of florida a few weeks ago and their legislature mandated that they've got four lab schools attached to the universities, one is fi -- fau, florida atlantic university which not only does early college.
i actually had a opportunity to meet a 17-year-old and 19-year-old who both were on their way to graduate school. they accumulated so many credits not only in high school but on a college campus during that period of time. we've got models but i don't think we've got systemic data at this point that suggests which models of early college work best. >> is that something that the department of education can understand how education is generally a state run program, but is there something that the department of education could possibly do to encourage folks to go and get additional information because you're right, the kids are actually on at college campus in more often than not. they begin to see themselves there. >> absolutely, it's one of the things that we expect to incentivize in our programs where it's a appropriate. so we're very excited about the potential of early college.
>> and the statistics with transcript data from high schools and we're also beginning to collect data from middle schools as well because some of these kids are involved in these programs. it is a new trend. and it takes a while to sort of get this in the mode of data collection. but we are on it. and we understand that even different models of types of these programs. but it takes time to collect this data and get them into the pipeline. i should say though, that one of the things that's going to facilitate this type of data collection, the digital approach to transcript data collection, currently what is done for most -- most schools and school districts is that we have to do it by hand, which is very labor intensive. which culling of the data is not
very standardized. so there are some issues to work out. but it will be available in the coming years. >> i would add, that the institution of education sciences started to fund researchers looking at the effect of dual enrollment. not necessarily early college high schools. one of the thing to note on these programs is what are we measuring? are we measuring students who would have gone to college anyway? it's getting through that issue of selection and finding the benefit to students who may not have gone to college. and i think that's one of the key things to disentangle out of this. but forgive me for repeating this again, there are ways to begin to measure this. i think some of the state databases, like the one in texas would be able to give you some of the answers that you're looking at because we are seeing students from the rio grande
valley in south texas graduating1y with associates degrees leaving high school. we don't know what that means k# for long term trajectory but do have evidence that completing the associate's degree does lead to increased odds of completing a bachelor's degree. >> thank you, mr. chair, do i have time for one question? as a former state trial and appellate judge, i saw early on that indeed there was correlation between education and incarceration.y@ in fact, it was often repeated that number of students not a8.e reading at grade level by the third gradehhzeáju$e assessments that was used to project the number of prisons to be constructed and prison beds we would need as the states and the nation.
can you comment on that? is there any truth, dr. karr to qób)9÷ such a statistic being kept and if you know whether in fact it'sl# used as a projection for the number of prisons and prison beds that we'll need? >> i can say that we certainty don't keep it. but i don't doubt that it ka doesn't exist are people aren't using it to make such projections. but i can say that the gaps between minority students or white students, are large and persistent and start early. this is something we need to be concerned about, the reading of students, inability to read as early as third grade is a predictor of a lot of factors that are detrimental to the future of the students and their
academic pursuits. i think though we cannot lose sight that there has been significant progress. it's not all doom's day, it looks bad. i realize. the data suggests that all students are improving although the gaps are still there. the only reason the gaps are narrowing, even as small as they are, is that the bottom of the distribution is coming up quicker. minority students are making significant improvements. >> any comment? >> i would concur. i don't doubt the statistic exists, it's not something the department of education maintains. >> i would add there's evidence out of economics that shows increased educational and completion of the high school degree reduces crime.
>> thank you, dr. minor, you made a comment there were clearly many more students who are eligible to be served who probably aren't being served because of limitations resources. do you have an estimate about how many we're talking about? >> i think it varies by state. but in most programs we probably could double the number of students that are being served by the programs that are currently funded. >> so some of the witnesses who are testifying over these two days of hearings have proposals of either they feel there is in
insufficient insufficient trio in the other programs have been suggestly successful so that we should eliminate funding for that, or some of them have been successful, perhaps it would be better to roll it all into one big general grant program that was more flexible. i'm wondering what your take on in terms of the data, how could we improve the data collected? dr. minor, you noted that the department has been doing more rigorous data based research. i'm wondering what you've learned. and i'm wondering whether you -- any of you have a response to the issue how could these programs be improved?c >> well, thank you.ggl i appreciate you highlighting the point. there's no doubt about it, that .e we need to have bed"dñ x evaluation and data attached to this kind of investment8o annually. i make no bones about that. and in terms of what to propose in place of or instead of is an interesting question because as
durable as these programs have been, i don't think there's consensus in the field about how to replace them or do the work better. i think the one thing we are clear about is that there are many factors that contribute to a young person being successful in an education system. there's some need for diversity of efforts. but one of the things that i've been very clear about and i t(q epartment is very clear about is increasing the rigor of the evaluations that are attached to the program.g; some of these programs were started 50 years ago and rigorous evaluation and effectiveness was not a part of legislative record at that time. but i think now as we move forward, i think we do -- we are significantly more sophisticated in terms of social science and still have serious data problems to fix. i can guarantee you, it's not just the department that grantee
communities and constituents are very cooperative and interested ? ive and willing to learn about how to more effectively serve students.b8wnra0÷ i met with the group just[áo weeks ago. and one of the thingsf to communicate“u)qs these are not federally funded programs to build roads or to build bridges, these are young people. and i take seriously the issue we could be spending taxpayer dollars in programs that don't effectively help students be successful in educational systems. it is something that we're very serious about and i expect that to become a much more significant factor going forward.vh >> anybody else?laq x >> has congress been providing sufficient funding to do the kind of research that i think everybody agrees with the idea?7 >> the answer is no. what's interesting, when we
raised this with the grantees, the kind of expertise and data collection and capacity required to do the kind of evaluation is not sort of been baked into the budget. so one message from grantees that we're working as hard as we can to serve students. now you want to lay on this exquisite evaluation without additional resources it is problematic. i think that's something that we have to take up if in fact we're going to ask individuals who have been awarded grants to do additionalñgt work to be responsible for rigorous %xfé evaluation. we've got to be serious about providing that kind of support. >> commissioner harriet? >> i think -- >> are you sure? i actually have one more question.f g so it's been my experience that
the cost of attending college is not just the tuition and fees. the challenge in the reading that we have is that not uu surprisingly if you comer 4s poor or low income family, you're trying to work full-time. or a lot.0ñ and that contributes potentiallyc1,j to not being able to finish on time. and so i'm wondering how much zih research if any has been done on the efficacy of providing[ stipends so students -- so they d5ñdí> let me say quickly, i'm very proud of one of the programs run by the department of education, it's not a trio or gear up program.
we refer to it as campus. childcare access means parents in school and it provides childcare access for students who have children.;b and so i think it's a critically important factor. one of the things i want to make clear. and i don't know this has come hóe.ósx up in a day and a half you heard testimony is that we often talk about college students as 18-year-olds who just left high school. when in fact, that's not true, that the mean age of students has gone up ov% vqp)s. right now in this country, there are more individuals between the ages of 25 and 64, individuals we expect to be in the workplace that have some college but no degree.h÷brñ meaning that they started college cnq)e and they fell out.e=v +÷ there are 36 million individuals in that age group and only 33 million individuals in that age group who actually have a bachelor's degree. what that tells me is that not only do we have to provide a
very traditional opportunities for individuals to earn a post secondary degree, we also have to provide less traditional ways or nontraditional ways for students who may have started three years ago, stopped out to work and have children and raise a family and do those kinds of things. we have to provide pathways for those individuals to return. >> i think i would add that the common student is no longer the 18 through 24-year-old without work responsibilities or family responsibilities. so this idea of a stipend would be a great experiment to implement, would it work? part of that may mean, you have to fill out the fafsa and comply with federal regulations and at the end of the day for poor students they never near get
around to filling out the fafsa. there's going to be significant scaffolding needed to see who would qualify for a stipend. the easier way is to pay as you go at community colleges. it could be a great experiment but it's going to require additional scaffolding. >> thank you. >> commissioner harriet? >> thank you. i wanted to go back to a point the chairman started with and point out that it's a complicated world for all races and we talked about this data for asians and for hispanics. but this will make things look different for blacks and whites as well i believe. for instance, my understanding is that caribbean blacks tend to do better on -- in the higher education setting than
noncaribbean blacks. and that among whites, you get some big differences as well. some ethnic groups do better than others in higher education. jewish students, for example have been extraordinarily successful in the higher education setting. scot's irish have been considerably less successful in that setting, not done nearly as well. this is not to say that these groups don't excel in other areas, an area of higher education, there are big differences among subgroups within blacks and whites. and has anyone collected any data on that? is there any plan to collect data on that kind of issue? >> i guess this is for you, doctor are or anybody else who would like to jump in there? >> it's a very complex set of questions to start asking people those sorts of things about
religion and even sometimes the origin. and the country of origin. we have to be very careful to work closely with omb regarding how we can ask these questions. and how we can report out on these questions because the states or the school districts collect the data does mean that supports us reporting on out data in that way. i do think there's a wealth of data through other means, not just from national education statistics that show that blacks, differentiation between the african nations, for example, tends to score higher on -- the caribbean blacks as well. there's a lot of information that tells us that we need to be paying attention to these diffreferenceiations. we have to be careful about how we ask these questions.
>> i appreciate your question. i think it's very important in terms of when -- the question to me makes me think of studies of immigrant students and generational status and the census as many data sets, you can begin to desegregate between white, black, latino and asian groups and there is significant work thinking about by generational status how are they doing and i would be happy to refer you to that research. i don't think the answer is to not desegregate. if we're thinking where to spend federal money or state money, it's important to know where the gaps are. >> i would add one sort of technical problem with the desegregation subpathway and it's a statistical one. once you start disaggregating at a certain level, you won't have enough statistical power to detect patterns that are
reliable and dependable over time. in many instances you can't go down as far as you'd like or to cross those groups with gender, down as far as you'd like or to cross those subgroups with genter, for example and groups groups -- located in certain states, only in about five states to be specific. >> the thing that worries me is that i think a lot of -- blacks as a group and whites as a group are monolivic and neither group is the least bit monolivic. they are very complicated groups. i take your point on the difficulty of collecting the data and the sensitivity of the issue. but it's important that people understand that these are not monolivic groups. >> is it a quick question,
commissioner? >> i think so. >> okay, go ahead. >> thanks, mr. chair. what factors contribute to -- first of all, socioeconomic status. i think we have a general understanding it thooz do with primarily income or to determination of someone's socioeconomic status. >> there are three factors in the literature that are typically used to determine socioeconomic status. in 1954, identifies income, parental education and occupation as the three key factors. but having done research in that area myself, i can say even within those key factors, there's differentiation about what they actually mean based upon the cultural and racial makeup of the family.
so income for $100,000 of income for a black family means something very different than $100,000 for a white family or having a four-year degree for a black family, a family with parents with four-year degrees may be something different from a family with a different sort of access to a different type of four-year institution. so it varies and we have to be very careful. so the department has most notably depended on data from the free reduced lunch prices i mentioned earlier but we're having problems with the reliability of those data. collecting those actual income data from the parents, it's also a bit of a herring because
parents don't want to tell you how much they make, even when you get them ranges. >> corrupt income, parental education, occupation. asians even from low ses, dramatically outperform other groups from low se srkss than groups from high scs. do you have an analysis or data why low ses individuals perform better than anyone else? >> when you divide by socioeconomic status the asians are not proportionately located as compared to say, blacks and hispanics. unless you separate the asia-pacific islanders out there they are very poor. you don't see the pattern that we see here today. >> another question for dr.
minor, you mentioned a number of programs, do you have an understanding of how much those programs or total expenditures for all the programs, have the level been flat? has it increased from 1990 to the present? do you have any data related to that? >> yes, we have very specific data for all of the programs in terms of the appropriation levels from year to year. i would say for the last decade there have been very small incremental increases subject to budget, fairly flat, compared to lots of other indicators. the big question, again, is cl or not the investment or 2% or 3% increase whether or not that is sufficient to actually sort of see the movement we need to see across the country. but in the last just several years, it's been relatively flat with small incremental increases. >> when do those programs, for
example, when did the bulk of these programs have their insip ensi? was it recently or can you take it back to the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s? >> some of the programs we spoke of earlier, the trio programs eoc, were about 50 years old. they were a part of the legislation gray society that sought to end poverty in 1960s. some of them gear up that we mentioned came online in 1998. some of them as recent as last year 2014 was the first year of that grant program. so the majority of them, there was a bundle that came online about 50 years ago. some mid to early 90s some of these represented extensions much other programs and some of them are new. you heard me mention earlier the president's goal to be first in the world.
that has been complimented by the establishment of a grant program to spur innovation and completion in post secondary education. so that program this year is only two years old so -- >> i'm going to exercise the chair's prerogative and wrap up. we're already over time. i did want to ask quick thing before we close. dr. flores, you mentioned that i think dr. minor also concurred that starting an associate's course at community college makes it less likely you'll obtain your bachelor's degree, is that correct? >> students who start -- yeah, yeah. >> yesterday dr. flores, william flores, president of the university of houston downtown indicated that one of their success factors is that those students who enroll in a community college and transfer to their school, they actually
have them go back and complete their associate's degree and then gradually go through a graduation ceremony and that actually increases their likelihood of completing the bachelor. i don't think that that's necessarily inconsistent with what you're saying, but could you address that, if you're even familiar with that latter issue? >> i think my light is off i'm going to have to speak loudly. so that -- i was speaking about didn't account for these potential innovations. i don't think those are necessarily inconsistent stories, i think what we're talking about is additional intervention. the university of houston downtown study, it started this intervention of taking students back. those other studies didn't account for that intervention. it's not that they are inconsistent. that could be an additional way, the students already transferred -- that says a lot about the student because most students never even transferred.
>> can i just answer his question. >> is that what you want to do? >> yeah. >> so for the asian-american community again, a lot of the demographics are shaped by how immigration has created the community here and the biggest predictor of poverty in the asian-american community is limited english proficiency. as you know, many languages aren't based on latin so it's very difficult -- much more difficult to learn english. you have a situation where a lot of parents, for example, from korea and other countries may be highly educated and may even have college and advanced degrees, but can't automatically turn their professional licenses here into a professional license to practice whatever their career was. they end up owning grocery stores or doing very low income work.
they are highly educated as a parent, which is the best predictor whether the kids are going to college. but their income is going to be very low. >> my understanding is parental education is one of the factors, correct? >> yes, it is. but these factors really need to be culminated into a construct for them to be truly predicted. >> i'm going to wrap this panel. it's fascinating. we could talk for much more but we have another panel and want to be respectful of that panel. thanks to each of you. it's fascinating and helpful. as i bid you farewell you are free to stick around for the balance of the day. i ask the other panelists to begin to move forward and staff to change the name plates so we can get started on our next panel. thank you. when congress is in session, c-span 3 brings more of the best access to congress with live coverage of hearings, news
conferences and key public affairs events. every weekend it's american history tv. traveling to historic sites discussions with authors and historians. eyewitness accounts of event that is define the nation. c-span 3, coverage of congress and american history tv. coming up next, a house hearing of kids taken to another country. later, remarks by the president of the world bank. now, a house foreign affair committee on international child abduction. last year, congress pass zed legislation requiring the state department to issue annual reports and to take action in returning children abducted to other countries. witnesses included officials from the state department, the national center for missing and
exploited children and parents of children held in foreign countries. this is about 2:15. senate committee will come to order. good afternoon. let me apologize for starting late. we did have a series of 14 votes in succession so to our distinct witnesses i apologize for the lateness getting urndsway. i want to thank all of you for being here today and all of our left behind parents and those here in spirit and those deeply concerned about their abducted child and thank you for joining us this afternoon to review the
department of state's first annual report under the david goldman international child abduction and return act. international parental child abduction rips children from their homes and families and whisks them away from a foreign land alienating them from the love and care from the parent left behind. child abduction is child abuse and continues to plague families across the united states. every year an estimated 1,000 american children are unlawfulfully removed from their homes by one of their parents and taken across international borders. less than half of these children ever come home. the problem is so consequential and the state department's previous approach of quite diplomacy that congress unanimously passed the goldman act last year to give teeth for request for return and for access. these actions increase in
severity and range from official protests through diplomatic channels to extradition and the suspension of development, security or other foreign assistance. the goldman act is a law calculated to get results as we did in the return of sean goldman from brazil in 2008. but a law is only as good as its implementation. broken hearted parents across america waited four years for the goldman act to become law and still await full u.s. government implementation of that law. the state department's first annual report that we are reviewing today should be a road map for action. the state department must get this report right in order for the law to be an effective tool. if the report fails to accurately identify problem countries, the actions i mentioned above are not triggered. countries should be listed as if -- if they have high numbers of cases, 30% or more, that have been pending over a year, or if
they regularly fail to enforce return orders or have failed to take appropriate steps in even one single abduction case pending for more than a year. once these countries are properly identified the secretary of state then determines which of the aforementions actions the u.s. will apply to the country in order to encourage the timely resolution of abduction and access cases. while the state department has choice of which actions to apply and can waive actions for up to 180 days, the state department does not have discretion over whether to report accurately to congress on the country's record or whether the country is objectively a noncompliant nation. as we have seen in the human trafficking context and i would note parenthetically that i authored the trafficking victims protection act of 2000 and the goldman act, an accurate
accounting of a country's record especially in comparison with other countries can do wonders to prod much needed reforms. accurate reporting is also critical to family court judges across the country. and parents considering their child's travel to a foreign country where abduction or access problems are a risk. the stakes are high. misleading or incomplete information could mean the loss of another american child to abduction. for example, a judge might look at the report filled with zeros in the unresolve cases category, erroneously conclude that a particular country is not of concern and give permission to an estranged spouse to return to their country with the child for a vacation. the taking parent then abducts the child and the left behind parent spends his or her life savings and many years trying to get their child returned to the united states all of which could have been avoided with accurate
reporting on the danger. i'm very concerned that the first annual report contains major gaps and even misleading information, especially when it comes to countries with which we have the most intractable abduction cases. for instance, the report indicates that india, which has consistently been in the top five destinations for abducted american children, had 19 new cases in 2014. 22 resolved cases and no unresolved cases. however, we know from the national center for missing and exploited children that india has 53 open abduction cases and 51 have been pending for more than one year. the report also shows zero new cases in tunisia for the last year. three resolves cases and zero unresolved cases.
and yet miss barbirou will testify to her more than three year battle to bring her children home from tunisia. again the national center for missing and exploited children show six abductions, all of which have been for more than a year. nowhere is the disconnect more clear than in the handling of japan, a country that has never issued or enforced a return order for the single of the hundreds of american children abducted there and not listed as a country showing failings to cooperate in returns. in march, nearly two months before the annual report was released, i chaired a hearing of this sub-committee featuring ambassador susan jacobs in which it was made perfectly clear that congress expect that is japan will be evaluated not just on the handling of new abduction cases after joining the convention last year, but all abduction cases including the more than 50 cases i and others
have been raising with state for at least the last five years. among those cases is that of sergeant michael elias. he has not seen his children jade and michael jr. mike as was a mean who saw combat in iraq. his wife who worked in the consulate used documents to kidnap their children then aged four and two in defiance of a court order telling michael on the phone there was nothing he could do because, as she said, and i quote, my country, that is japan, will protect me. her country worried about the designation in the report sent a high level delegation in march to meet with the ambassador and explain why japan should be excused from being noncompliant despite the fact more than one year after signing the convention of international child abduction japan has a zero, zero returns to the united states.
just before the report was released, two weeks late, takahashio cada, secretary to the ministers of foreign affairs, told the japanese diet he had been in consultation with the state department and, i quote him here, because we strive to make an explanation to the u.s. side, i hope that the report contents will be based on our country's efforts, closed quote. in other words, japan got a pass from the state department and escaped the list of countries facing action by the u.s. for their failure to resolve abduction cases based on what mr. okada referred to as efforts, not results. sergeant michael alias's country has failed to protect him and his children. he's seen zero progress in his case over the last year. the seventh year of his heart wrenching ordeal and i traveled with his mother, the child's
grandparents to japan and met that brick wall that he has faced now for seven years in trying to help move that case along. and yet the state department can't bring itself to hold japan accountable by naming japan as an offender in the annual report. it is disappointing, it is discouraging and i believe it is disgraceful. the report whitewashes japan's egregious record on parental child abduction. and to add insult to injury, the report table that was to show the unresolved abductions in japan failed to include a single one of the more than 50 cases, 36 of which have been dragging on for more than five years according to the national center for missing and exploited children. instead the table listed japan as having a 43% resolution rate. japan again has never issued an enforced return order for an american child. these young victims, these american victims like their
left behind parents are american citizens who need the help of their government. the goldman act is clear that all return requests submitted to the foreign ministry and are resolved 12 months later are to be counted against japan, not just three months. nearly 100% of the abduction cases in japan remain open and the reports conclusion of 43% resolution is truly indefensible. and not a single left behind parent pursuing access was allowed in person contact with their child over the last year. the goldman act has given the state department new -- and i would argue -- powerful tools to bring japan and other countries to the resolution table. the goal is not to disrupt relations but to heal the painful rifts cause by international child abduction. and i remember when i was doing the trafficking victim protection act and there was arguments against the act and took three years to become law, this would hurt our relations
with allies if these women would be sold like chattel as part of human trafficking schemes. i persisted and those alongside me persisted and we got the bill passed and friends don't let friends commit human rights abuses and we need to speak out with clarity and boldness on these facts. i do appreciate the departments presence here today to discuss ways to improve the report and ensure it fulfills the purposes for which it is intended, namely the prevention of abduction and the reunification of thousands of american families that have suffered forced separation for far too long. i would like to yield to my good friend mr. donovan, former prosecutor, and a distinguished new member of the u.s. house. >> thank you, mr. chairman. as the chairman said, i'm the second newest member of the house. i was elected and sworn in four weeks ago.
but in my previous life i was a district attorney and my experience with custodial abductions was limited to within our own nation. so i look forward to hearing from the parents and i thank you for coming to share your grief with us. i'm also the father of a newborn three week old daughter. so my heart goes out to you and i also look forward to hearing from our distinguished panelists to hear what our government it doing for you. thank you very much. >>u uch. i would like to introduce our +u two distinguished panelists beginning with karen christian son, the deputy of state for overseas services since august of 2014. most recently she was the ministers counselor for the counselor of affairs at the u.s. embassy in berlin where she coordinated operations at several posts in germany and
prior to that in manila and also served in washington within the bureau of counselor affairs in the visa offices and over seas she's served in london, bucca rest and soul and in the counselor division and in the bureau of human resources and her background will be made part of the record. and then we'll hear from mr. henry hand who assumed his duties as director of children's issues on september 3rd of 2014. his previous assignment was council general in kiev, ukraine. mr. hand is a career foreign service officer and joined the department in 1998. he was promoted to senior foreign service in 2013. his previous postings including the american institute in taiwan, the consulate general in shanghai embassy talon and
embassy nickasea. and also served in the department of bureau of consulate affairs as a country desk officer on central african affairs. the floor is yours miss christienensen christensen. >> chairman smith and distinguished members of the sub-committee, thank you for the chance to discuss international child abduction and to review the implementation of the sean and david goldman child abduction and prevention and return act and the department of states first annual report under this new law. the department values your continuing interest and support of our efforts to prevent international parental child abduction. to facilitate the return of children to their homes and to strengthen and expand the hague abduction convention to include more partner countries. our mission is to assist children and families involved in international pa rental child abduction and to prevent its occurrence. in my career i've worked with
many families affected by child abduction and seen firsthand the pain it causes. this new law already is encouraging more countries to consider being -- becoming party to the hague convention or to improve performance under the convention if they are already a party. the u.s. interagency working group, for example on prevention mandated by the law has already met twice hosted by special adviser for children's issues am barbassador susan jacobs and already prevented abductions. we devoted significant effort to analyzing the new law to adapting policies to implement it and to publish the first annual report. we fully recognize that this first report will not meet all expectations. and we welcome feedback from you and other members of congress and parents who are seeking return of their children and from the public on how we can
improve future it rations of this report. as the law requires, 90 days following the annual report the department will submit to congress a report on actions taken in response to countries demonstrating patterns of noncompliance. mr. chairman and members of sub-committee, we are committed to using every tool we have available to prevent and resolve international child abductions. we need and appreciate your continuing support, including through your feedback on our work and on our reports to you. so thank you and i look forward to your questions later. so i'll turn it over to henry hand. >> members of the sub-committee. thank you. oh, sorry. chairman smith, distinguish members of the sub-committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before the sub-committee regarding our work in the office of children's issues to prevent and resolve international child abductions and to implement the 1980 hague convention and the
civil aspects of international child abduction and the international child abduction remedies act and the sean and david goldman international child abduction and recovery act. i welcome the chance to provide further detail and answer your question about the department of state's first annual report under the new law. our office worked hard since the new law was enacted in august to analyze and translate provisions into concrete actions such as collecting 40 new data fields for every new case. our focus was on ensuring this first report contained all of the information required by the law. the information in the 2014 report naturally is different than the previous annual compliance reports on international parental child abduction which were drafted under previous legislation. the 2014 report represents a first initial effort that we understand does not meet all of yours and others expectations.
we filed it under a short guideline and worked diligently and simultaneously to make sure as we implemented the law we maintained the office on going work and supported families affected by international child abduction. mr. chairman, distinguished member of the sub-committee, we are committed to fully implementing the law and making the most effective tool we can in service of our shared goals and preventing child abduction and bringing abducted children home. and we appreciate the feedback we have received and seek your comments and questions on the work we are doing. thank you and we welcome your questions. >> thank you very much. miss christensen thank you very much. could you, miss christensen. tell us, in what ways has the state department made japan, the ministry of foreign affairs, aware of the 50 cases aware of the cases previous to the hague abduction convention and do we
give their foreign ministry a list of abduction cases? is that how we do it? >> sir, mr. chairman, we have discussed and raised specific cases with the japanese foreign ministry. right now the japanese foreign ministry, there is the central authority which work on hague cases and other parts of the foreign ministry which has the lead on pre-hague cases. we have raised the issue of prehague cases with both sides and raised senior levels of the japanese government and continue to do so. >> since that is the case, it is -- perhaps an oversight but perhaps more than that, that the goldman act makes very clear
that there must be an accounting of all unresolved cases and i'll read you the pertinent part of the -- it is title one of the department of state actions. that each annual report shall include a list of all countries in which there was one or more abduction cases during the preceding calendar year relating to a child who is residing in the united states, including a description of whether -- and then it goes through more detailed information. but the idea is that there is one case and the whole preceding calendar year. and yet in reading the report, on page 17, it says japan, abduction cases, unresolved cases, zero. and yet elsewhere in the report it does mention the 50. but the way of evading, putting
japan on the list and there is 22 countries, as you know, since you compiled it who are on the list who have shown a pattern of noncompliance, to somehow just exclude these 50 plus cases that information has been given over to the japanese government as just i understand kated. i know that because i've been talking to our people both in tokyo as well as at the state department here. they do make representation on behalf of individuals, and yet it is baffling beyond words unresolve cases, zero. how did that happen? >> sir, one of the things that we have been working very hard on in the past several months since the law was enacted is -- in devising the report that calls for new data, data that we were not using before, the legislation also contains some new definitions. and one of the issues that we've encountered is that the
definition -- in the definitions of the law, and unresolved abduction case is one that remains unresolved for more than 12 months after the date of completed application for return is submitted to the judicial or administrative authorities and in our extense i have review and what we found is that it was determined we cannot include any non-hague cases where there was no application for return. there was an application for custody and access and so on. but again let me reiterate we look forward to working with you and others to make this report as comprehensive, as understandable and as effective a tool as we can. because we share your desire that this report be something that members of the public, members of congress, judges and others can use as an effective reference. and also as an effective tool to press other countries.
>> i deeply appreciate that we share that concern i believe we do. our intent and your intent is the same and we are concerned about this. but the definition of unresolved abduction case and i'll read it again to put it on the record, the term unresolved abduction case is a case unresolved for a period that exceeds 12 months after the date on which the completed application for return of the child, of the child is submitted for determination of the judicial or administrative authority as applicable in the country in which the child is located. we have made representation to the japanese government on behalf of these case files, one after the other, after the other, to return the child. i mean -- of course access is usually a part of it. but it is to return the child. because custody we all know is something that we hope is going to be done at the place of the habitual residence. and i don't think it could be more clear.
something secretary jacobs said i'll find it in a second, in 2013, at a hearing that i chaired on this issue, i'd become very concerned. she said i do think that we need for cases not covered by the convention, we need to reach an agreement with japan. you might want to comment whether or not we are close to reaching a bilateral agreement with them and then she said, this is disturbing, i think that threatening countries is often an unsuccessful way to get them to cooperate with us because most of the relationships are complex and involve many issues. then she says, i don't think we are going to sanction japan or threaten them with sanctions because i think that would be detrimental to our bilateral relationship. i believe passionately in the bilateral relationship with
japan. again, was the fix already in in 2013. if we passed the goldman act, you would have a table where it says there are no unresolve abduction cases in japan. again, i think this is theater of the absurd. there are more than 50 of them. some of the parents -- left behind patients are sitting in this room saying zero? how could that be zero? the definition is as air tight as i think lawmakers can write. i don't see how you felt you could not include that. and even in your footnotes you acknowledge the 50 cases, later on in the narrative. so, i think you have done a great disservice to the american children who have been abducted and their left behind parents with total sincerity. >> and i don't think the fix was in and i don't think there was
an intention not to cite japan. as we read through internal discussion, this definition here, it was the feeling that those cases did not meet this definition as written in the law. but it was precisely because of our concern for the 50 cases that we did discuss them at length in the rest of the body of the report and they continue to remain of great concern to us. ambassador susan jacobs will be going there very soon to japan and these cases are going to be a subject of that discussion. and we continue to attempt to -- to resolve and establish this protocols with japan for the resolution of those cases. those 50 cases are at the forefront of our thinking. we understand that among those 50 cases, about 30 of them have actually filed now -- filed hague cases for access and are working through those cases. >> well, again, these are
desperate, loving parents who have been frustrated through nausea with the lack of responsiveness by us, the u.s. government and especially by the japanese government. and let me make a point, when you talk about application. we made it very clear that the term application means the case of a nonconvention country and the formal request by the central authority of the united states, you, to the authority of such a country, and that could be the foreign ministry, requesting the return of an abducted child or the rights of contact with an abducted child. and i presume on each of the outstanding cases, which is now in excess of 50 and some have aged out and gave up, perhaps they are not even counted anymore, certainly an application to japan and when i was in our tokyo embassy i asked, are we making a
representation? what are you doing with the file? you have this file, of course you convey it to the japan in hopefully a persuasive manner. that happened, right? >> we, in the report, as you know, japan conceded to the hague convention and the statistics in the report we counted the applications for return we filed that under the hague. we'll get back to you with a more detailed answer on the pre-hague cases and exactly what was done. but let me say that we have -- this is very much a focus of our office. it is very much a focus of our embassy in tokyo. i have been in meetings with ambassador jacobs and other senior officials have been in meetings discussing with senior officials in tokyo and others and there was no attempt on our part to evade this issue or somehow push it under the table. it is an issue that is very much a focus and one that we care very deeply about.
>> i do look forward to that explanation and we hope if she is -- if she is amenable to it so ask ambassador to come back in july because we are in the 90-day review period and if this could be amended, this report, to get it right, because i believe based on the clear language of the goldman act, japan should be the 23rd nation on the pattern of noncompliance. it is the most -- self-evident of all of the countries and there are countries on here and i'm glad you have brazil and india and other countries. i do note that in your unresolve cases the number on india amazingly, even though there is a national center for missing and exploited children it's 50 and the number is zero there, too. i'm working with several cases myself, including one of indy phillips, which she has testified twice before my committee and been to the state department, she's doing
everything humanly possible and that is an unresolved case now for multiple years and that is listed as zero as well. so we do need -- and maybe you can amend this to get that right. because i do believe it is an egregious flaw. yes, you want to respond, mr. hand. >> i was going to say, sir, again, we worked with the definitions as our experts determined in putting together the report. because the case is not in the report does not mean that we are not working with that parent or that case is not a concern. but this is -- again, this is something that we are very concerned with in our office, again, we want the report to reflect the work our office is doing, we want the report to be an effective tool and also to comply with the terms of legislation. >> again, as i said in my opening, getting the protection act is another issue but it is a human rights abuse issue. we've argued, just get it right in the report and part two, the sanctions regime, if there are
any, there is a generous waiver if the president thinks it is in the best interest of the issue itself, the cause and other interests like national security, where he is not obliged to impose sanctions, but getting the report right is important. as i said before, judges will read this or could read this and say, hmm, zero cases unresolved in japan and send somebody off and that kid or children get abducted by an offending parent. mr. donovan. >> thank you, chairman. either of our panelists, how many children and families are we talking about? >> i'm sorry, sir. as of june 1st, let me get my glasses -- as of june 1st, our office has a total of 919 out going -- meaning children taken from the united states abduction and access cases.
the cases may involve more than one child so the total is about 1285 children. as chairman smith said and others have noted, we rely largely on cases that are reported to us. so there are cases that -- that are out there that are not reported to the central authority that may not be in this figure. >> does each family have a liason at state that informs them of the progress of their case? do they have to inquire at a general number and try to find somebody to help them or do we have somebody that is working with each particular family? >> the office of children's issues is divided up by region. and each region has country officers. if your familiar with how regional bureaus work, where there is a country desk officer, we have a similar setup in the office of children's issues so
we have country officer who is are experts and work with families in particular countries and particular regions. and so we have people who work with families that involve brazil or china or russia or japan or other countries. >> and as the chairman points out, one country is not complying and are there countries that could be models for others? >> there are countries -- there are countries that we have a very good working relationship with. it is -- we are engaged in, like other aspects of our relationships with other countries, some countries we might have a good working relationship with the central authority but huge problems with judicial authorities or law enforcement authorities not complying or other elements of that government.
in other cases, there is also issues with just volume. a country we work, very closely with, mexico, which because of the proximity to the united states, we have far more children being abducted to and from mexico to the united states than any other country. that relationship is far different than a relationship with a country where there is maybe one or two abductions but it varied. some countries everything works well, some countries we're struggling. some countries we're trying to work with elements within that government to bring along other elements of judiciary or law enforcement to achieve returns of children. >> and my final question, is there some countries that don't recognize the judicial determination of parental rights in our country and don't recognize in their country as a reason to assist in getting this parent back with their child? >> the department of state, we are big advocates of the hague
convention because that is a mechanism whereby countries can -- simplifying but recognize judicial decisions made in other countries to get children back to their habitual residence and there are countries where the left behind parent does have to file a custody application, a court case in that country. so it really -- legal systems as you know vary very much from country to country. >> thank you very much. and before our next panel comes up, i apologize, i have to leave to go somewhere else. so if i leave, please don't be offended. thank you very much. >> let me ask you a couple of questions. when you raised this with the japanese government, can you tell us how senior that is, who they are? >> we've raised it with senior members of the foreign ministry.
we are actively discussing with our embassy in tokyo sort of other ways to raise this issue. i -- the cases -- the instances -- the most recent cases or instances i'm most familiar with are senior members of the japanese foreign ministry. >> let me -- but no names? maybe you can get -- do you have an idea who your people are? if a country has a case that goes on six weeks but in compliance with the treaty do you consider that a case resolved? >> i'm sorry, could you repeat the question, mr. chairman? >> pardon me. if a country has allowed a case to go on for six weeks, which is what the hague prescribes, but otherwise complying with the requirements of the treaty, do you consider that case resolved?
>> we have -- one of the things that we are working with is our definition of resolved and unresolved cases and we have cases that kind of fall into the middle. we have the annual report defined for the der in addition of the law and at the same time our office may close a case for other administrative reasons, for example, rejected by the foreign central authority. that case would still be unresolved in the annual report. we do have cases that -- they have not been resolved, they have not come to a conclusion but they don't meet the definition of unresolved, meaning they have within with the foreign judicial authority for more than 12 months. this is another area in which we look forward to working with you and others to make the report more clear and more useful. >> can you tell us how many --
how many abduction cases oci has open inclusive of all years. how many open cases do you have? >> yes, sir. the figure i have is currently this is as of june 1st. i apologize i don't have as of june 11th the office has a total of t 19 outgoing abduction and access case that is involve 1285 children. as sir, you have said and we have said before, there are cases not reported to us but that is our open case load as of june 1st. >> in talking to india, i asked secretary kerry when he testified earlier this year about whether or not he raised the case with mody and whether or not president obama raised the child parental abduction and he said we raise all
international parental child abduction cases in appropriate meetings which is now the standard and it is included in e-mails that go back and forth from your office. but just to drill down on that, again, i have individual cases in my own state and yet -- and that have gone on for years and yet the unresolved case load for india like japan is zero. that is like a -- a body blow to long, suffering, left behind in this case -- bendy was a mother who had her kids taken away from her and she tried everything and is counting on the u.s. government to be her you know the one entity to make this come to fruition to get her children back. >> sir, i very much -- i understand the concern. and again, for this report, we used the definitions that were in the legislation. that doesn't mean we don't have open cases in the office of children's issues and the case you cited and others are very much a concern of our office.
we are pressing the indian government and other governments to resolve them. and again, one of our -- one of the things that we look forward to working with you, with others, is how to make this report a better reflection of what we're doing and the numbers of people and so on that we're working with. >> we're looking forward to doing that. again, and i read it and i won't read it again but the one resolved definition is as clear-cut as i could possibly imagine it. we worked hard to make sure there was clarity, predictability, nobody would be confused, no ambiguity, it means unresolved for a period of 12 months after a date on which a completed application for the return for a child is submitted for return in judicial or administrative authority. and again we're tendering these requested for the another
ministry and whoever else in japan. and the same goes for india and yet we have zeros there. so please, i ask, respectfully, if you could reopen this issue with regards to the report immediately and resolve that. because it deals a real blow, i think, to the accuracy of the report. let's just say it exactly the way it is and work out what our response ought to be that is prudent and hopefully toast efficacious, which is to get the children to the left behind parent. if you could consider that. >> we'll take that back, sir. >> we will take that back. as henry said we do look forward to talking in greater detail, a more detailed briefing about exactly where the numbers came from and what definitions we're using. our goal here was to try to comply with what was required in the report and since this was a
new way of looking at the information and new definitions, we weren't sure when we started down this road exactly what we would end up with and where that would take us and it was our goal to have a report that is responsive to the interest and concerns of everybody involved. and if i might say one thing about the act, the act is much more than just about the report. and we believe that the measures that are in here involving prevention will have a significant impact on this problem and so we're grateful for those measures and we look forward to developing those. >> i appreciate that. and i know that you report that you had a prevention interagency meeting in october. that is from title three of course of the law. have you had any since? >> yes. we did. we had another one. and i know that d.o.d. was also involved in that one and that was in april, i believe. and at those meetings, what is really evident is that that sort of an interagency meeting and
interagency task force does surface ways to remove barriers to communications within the u.s. government which i think will provide benefit for this and we'll see good results from. >> that and again, if you could shed -- and this is my final question, any insight as to ambassador jacobs comments on may 9th, 2013, when she said we do need to reach an agreement with japan, a bilateral agreement or moou which i've been arguing for for about seven years, are we close to it? is there an active discussion going on with our friends in japan? >> there is an active discussion. this is something that, as director of the office, i've spent a fair amount of time discussing both with our embassy in tokyo and others. it is something that we are extremely anxious to achieve and anxious to see some proguess and we will keep you updated, sir. >> okay. and i would note that i do believe that one part of the prevention scheme and we've
learned this from the trafficking report is just getting the report accurate. and japan needs to be gotten accurate. so i want to thank you. and i have some additional questions that i would like to submit for the record and i appreciate you coming. and please get back to us, ambassador jacobs, if she might be available in july before the 90 day period has elapsed. >> thank you, sir. >> thank you. >> i would like to now introduce our second panel. beginning with ravindra parmar, who is a left behind father of a young man who was abducted in india in march of 2012, by his mother, when ray yash, the son, was 3 years old. he is a cpa and works for a big four accounting firm and immigrated in 1994 and lived in the u.s. for almost 21 years. he and his wife are both
naturalized u.s. citizens and ravash was born in new jersey where the family lived together from 2004 to 2012. and then that is when dimple took rayash on what was supposed to be a five-week vacation to india. they've been fighting for the son's return for three years and co-founded the bring our kids home which advocates for all returned american children abducted to india. we'll then hear from edeanna barbirou, who were abducted by their father to the republic of tunisia in november of 2011.
she has successfully returned home to the u.s. with her daughter zanab and continued to seek the return of her now abducted son from tunisia. following her children's abduction she initiated an organization to bring awareness to her family's case. today to return rush home, she has a mission to educate the public and public servants about the international child abduction issue and develop abduction prevention strategies. rush advances this mission through the membership with the i stand parent network, a coalition of parents organizations and stakeholders united to prevent and remedy parental child abduction. we'll then hear from dr. chris fer sa-- christopher savoie
a member of the american bar association of laws of big data and licensed attorney and data scientist senior manager of enterprise architect at nissan where he oversees the big data analytics. he started his technology career in japan where he founded at mark, the first internet founding firms and where he invented and commercialized understanding technology apple siri and founded gni networks in japan, a publicly traded pharmaceutical company that utilizes his inventions for novo pharmaceuticals. he will speak about his child being abducted in just a moment. and then we'll hear from mr. preston findlay, the legal counsel for the missing children for missing and exploited children. in his role he provides legal technical assistance for attorneys and others for international and domestic child abductions including children
taken by a parent or family member. he edited and co-authored the guide for attorneys handling cases under the hague child abduction convention as well as an investigation in program management guide for law enforcement agencies responding to cases of missing and abducted children. mr. findlay is a former prosecutor and attorney practicing law in texas and virginia. so i'd like to now introduce miss palmer. dr. savoie is going to go first sorry. >> sorry about that. thank you, mr. chairman, for the opportunity to speak with today about the ongoing obstacles that
parents face to be reunited with their kidnapped children. thank you for this honor. my name is christopher savoie. kidnapping of our children. my nightmare began in august of 2009 when my ex-wife told me she wanted to take the kids back-to-school shopping. little did i know, on that day, in a few short hours, my children would be on an airplane in the air on the way to japan in their own haven for parental child abduction. it would be slightly less painful perhaps if my ex-wife facilitated phone calls between me and my children. my phone calls are ignored, my packages are refused and my
letters are sent back to me. the state department informed me they're working on my case. we had meetings, phone calls and and even more meetings, town hall meetings in which i met scores of parents in the same situation. i was assured the state department was, quote, raising the issue of my cases and other cases in which children were stolen to japan in violation of law. just briefly, i'd like to share with you the research, nic nic who we'll hear from later is the experience is extremely damage to get child. the office of juvenile preference says parental abduction profoundly affects the abducted children and has long lasting consequences. the fbi says abduction is born of the parent's selfish desire.
it's child abuse and the effects are deep and long lasting. but in my first meeting with the state department official, do you know what she said? michelle bong currently the acting secretary for council affairs said to me, quote, at least their with their mommy. at least they're with their mommy. you would think that somebody in such a high-level position would have known about the studies or the justice department or the fbi's or the ada's or perhaps most glaringly, that the u.s. congress in passing the international parental kidnapping crimes act stated that parental child abduction is in fact a felony crime. so this is my first introduction into the world of oci. flabbergasted by the story of demeaning parents on the
substance of their alleged efforts to bring our children home as well as the state department's habit of fudging the numbers to protect the foreign country's reputation in eyes of congress. i was act communicating with the osi in the beginning in 2009, 20102011. after a mile it became more noticeable that the staff lacked any outrage whatsoever in japan's complicity in this human rights issue. i asked myself whose side are they really on, anyway? their language always seemed slippery to me, finally in 2011 when my children had been abducted for over a year and a half i asked my caseworker has the state department ever formally demanded the return of my children. on march 9th, she responded by e-mail and i quote, the state department has not formally demanded the return of any abducted children. let me say that again, the state
department has not formally demanded the return of any abducted children. if they're not demanding the abducted children what are they doing keeping abducted children on their agenda? i never received a statement as to why the state department has not demanded the abduct the children. here i am, a few years older and a fuel years wiser and i'm holding a copy with the golden act subject of this hearing and the report is full numbers, 42 pages of numbers, but these are not just ordinary numbers, mr. chairman. eve of these numbers represents one or more actual american citizen children who have been kidnapped away from an american parent. each one of these numbers is a real significant human rights tragedy that is causing very real terrorism. and it's underrepresented the problem again, to protect the reputation of our allies in the eyes of congress, rather than being forth right.
the truth is, when it comes to japan in particular and its ability to abide by the hague treaty we have a major problem. at a recent hearing in front of the japanese dias, the parliament, they expressed the goldman act, i mentioned you, mr. chairman. and i quote, because japan only has sole parental rights not shared parental rights like most other countries. please allow me to explain this so you and others understand what is going on here, and why without a change in japanese law japan can never be in compliance with the letter or the spirit of the hague convention. you see in japan, every divorce results in the total logs of all parental rights for one of the parents. that's right. under japanese law, after a divorce, even a completely am applicable divorce, the parents or a court must decide which
parent will maintain parental rights. not custody. parental rights. the result of this rule is that one parent must by law have his or her parental rights terminated becoming legally, a total stranger, a nonparent to the child. the nonparent may not have any decision making over the child anymore. never mind visitation, decisions over medical care. access to a child in the hospital. or access to school records. none of that. this is also why the state department and the japanese government, both of which would like to maintain smooth bilateral relations have had to control the numbers in this report and distort the truth in order to hide this awful fact about japanese law and cultural values. by definition, there is only one parent after a divorce in japan
as far as hague mandated access and visitation is concerned, japan has never developed any enforcement mechanisms, because in its own country they would never create a system to enforce visitation with someone who is legally a stranger. so when the state department suggests that japan is magically compliant with the hague convention, according to their recent report, we must ask them, how is it possible when the japanese government itself admits in open parliamentary session that divorced parents have no parental rights at all? how can japan be compliant with this law without any possible parental rights or visitation rights or visitation enforcement? not only for these american parents but for their own japanese citizen parents following a divorce? the answer is simple, japan cannot be compliant, legally, culturally or practically. but yet, the state department misrepresents the numbers in order to claim that japan is compliant when they know that this is not true. in fact, last week in order to shine a spotlight on the underlying issue on sole parental rights, my client u.s. navy captain paul tolland filed a lawsuit challenges the basis of this reality.
he asked for what u.s. courts would consider a natural human right. that the sole surviving parent after a divorce and death of a spouse be granted physical custody of his child. right now, the child is with a grandparent who refuses to let him have any and all access to his daughter. the premise of the lawsuit that a biological parent has a fundamental right to his or own child has made national headlines in japan. why? as several japanese experts state in the japanese press and i quote, this case brings to light the stark cultural defenses between japanese and u.s. culture and laws concerning fundamental parental rights. again, japan simply does not recognize that parents like me, like paul tolland, like so many others have any right what is so
far to parent our children. now, in addition to the abduction cases that are cases the state department refuses to you'll mystically as access cases. they're cases like mine which because our kids were abducted before the hague convention, japan james it be forced to return them under the hague treaty. even in this cases, the hague convention requires that the authority remove all obstacles to visitation with our children. all obstacles. in an e-mail dated june 3rd, 2015, my caseworker told my attorney that the jca claims it is not their responsibility to facilitate a visitation agreement about my access to my children. so my case, thanks to the state department's unwillingness or unable to advocate on my behalf remains in a catch-22. the only thing responsible for facilitating access and removing all obstacles to hague-mandated access is the only one through which my ex-wife will communicate and is claiming that it is not responsible for hague mandated access. and in fact, on a recorded interview with australia broadcasting corporation, the director of the hague convention division, the japanese ministry of foreign affairs, admits, verbatim, and i quote, that japan cannot enforce any sort of access. in fact, the state department, in the report, is carved out what appears to be a novel
exception to the goldman act. not just cases awaiting submission. but already submitted cases are excluded for the purposes of compliance. in other words, once a case is submitted to a court in japan and forced into mediation or litigation the state department has taken the position that the japanese authority is off the hook. that these cases simply because the courts and not the jca itself are responsible for gaining timely access to the children. once the case is submitted the state department and jca claim they can wash their hands of all responsibility to the children in a timely manner. so even if a court takes ten years to provide one hour of access to a child, a country will